Edie Windsor Gave Me My Life

I didn’t keep an accurate track of how many cities and towns we played over those two years between Edie Windsor’s victory and June 26, 2015, when marriage equality became the law of the land, but it was a lot, at least 100. Some towns and cities were in states or regions that had passed religious liberty acts, which allowed for employers and service providers refuse to serve, employ or rent to people based on the sexual identity (or people they might think were L.G.B.T.Q.I.A., for that matter) so long as that identity was against the employer, service provider or landlord’s religion. Audience members would wait to meet us after our shows and thank us for making them laugh because they drove three hours from downstate Indiana or rural Texas. One woman came to our show in Ft. Wayne, Ind. She told us she really needed the laugh that night because she had just been fired for being gay. How did she know that’s why she was fired? Because her employer told her.

As a community, we would spend the next three years celebrating wins, like the repeal of the Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and the Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges decision, which guaranteed the right to marry regardless of sexual identity, but also dealing with near daily attacks on our rights in “smaller” arenas, like North Carolina’s “bathroom bill.” Every time our community leapt forward, it would feel undermined by 10 smaller steps backward. Then Orlando happened. The attack on one of the Florida city’s gay night clubs, Pulse, left 49 dead and 58 wounded. It was the deadliest terrorist attack in the United States since 9/11.

Four days after the attack, I flew to New York to play a benefit show for Hillary Clinton. Cameron had been booked, too, but we decided she would stay home in Los Angeles to finish editing our television show “Take My Wife,” which was to have its premiere a month later. It was (and is) the first sitcom created by and starring…

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